Volume 40, Issue 2 (March 1995)
DNA Analysis of Dental Pulp to Link Incinerated Remains of Homicide Victim to Crime Scene
Teeth endure postmortem degradation and extreme changes in ambient temperature and pressure better than most human tissues. This ability to resist deterioration allows the teeth to be studied as a method of establishing the identity of a decedent. Additionally, dental hard tissues, and in some instances soft tissues, may provide investigators with other sources of forensic data. In this case, a female homicide victim was transported to a location where her remains were burned. The high temperatures of a gasoline fire effectively incinerated the body precluding deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) analysis from conventional sites. However, most of the teeth survived the conflagration. They were used to identify the victim. Additionally, the dental pulps were found to be an excellent source of high molecular weight genomic DNA. This proved to be an effective method to link the victim's body to biological evidence recovered from the site of the murder.